Luna1878 Winter Night Market: the vegan perspective and some Melbourne love

Luna1878 night market

Tonight I headed down to the Queen Vic Market for the Luna1878 Night Market. I’ve been pretty slack with the night markets in general, always meaning to go but when I remember, it’s already Thursday.

My mission was to spend my birthday cash on vegan goodies and locally produced items that really grabbed me. Over the years I’ve changed my shopping style from a wishy washy yeah that’ll do (which I applied to my wedding dress, I couldn’t be bothered trying on anything else after the second meringue), to only buying things I really, really need or love.

I was messing around with camera settings and towards the end, juggling things in both hands trying not to take blurry shots, so apologies for any crappiness that jumps out and smacks you in the nose.

The first stall I hung out at was MAD Products, chatting with Maxine Wren.  Maxine photographs Melbourne streetscapes and graffiti then, using locally sourced wood, turns them in to items like coasters, place mats, small furniture and pictures. For every Graffitiscape coaster and place mat sold, $1 and $3 respectively are donated to Youth Projects Hosier Lane.

Melbourne Streetscapes MAD Products

I loved looking at the MAD coasters. Having lived away from my home town for a few years, I only really appreciated Melbourne once I was homesick. Now I love picking up little bits and pieces reflecting how much I love my city and if we ever live overseas again, I want to be able to take those bits and pieces with me.  So today I couldn’t go past this coaster for $10:

Melbourne Streetscapes MAD Products

I love love love it. When I go in to the city, I try to make the time to walk down Hosier Lane. So my coaster will be used every time I make my tea, which is numerous times a day.

When I was going through my photos (and so many didn’t turn out, including the others I took of Maxine’s stall, arghgh) I realised that because I had been yapping away so much, I completely missed the box of place mats right in front of me! The first one was a picture of the exterior of the Royal Arcade, one of my favourite Melbourne buildings. I know some of my friends and relatives love images of Melbourne like I do, so these would make great gifts.

MAD Products has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MaxineArtisticDesigns/info  

 

Next up was The Decadent Desserts Company with their big table full of fudge.  I asked if the fudge was vegan, which meant I completely missed this sign:

The Decadent Desserts Co

EEEEEEeeeeee! It made me wonder how many people, like me, ask “is it vegan”.  Which of course is a fab thing! Check out the table of tasty delights:

The Decadent Desserts Co

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I bought the larger packet of that Coffee & Walnut fudge you see, plus the smaller $4 snack pack of Chai Fudge, Coconut Fudge and of course the Peppermint. I’ve already eaten the coconut which was delicious. I sampled some of the ginger and that was great too. Another great gift idea!

The Decadent Desserts Company can be found at http://decadentdesserts.com.au/ 

 

Husband is a big bretzel man. We visited Germany a few times (cos we were living next door) and if we got separated I knew I just had to go and find the closest bretzel shop. I bought two tonight from Bretzel Biz. I gave the bag to Husband, then when I went to have some a few minutes later he’d already scoffed the first one and was going all lockjaw on the second.  I’d say he liked them very much, you should have seen him being all foamy mouth impatient when I was trying to take this photo.  This is a photo taken under extreme bretzel pressure:

Bretzel Biz

I had some too (much to Husband’s horror) because YAY the bretzels are vegan. Only the plain ones though, the flavoured ones like salted caramel are not (I don’t think). The plain ones are $4 each.

Check out Bretzel Biz at http://www.facebook.com/Bretzel.biz

 

Signs like this are like the black holes of goodness.  They suck me right in. I love that vegan labeling is becoming so common. I’ve only been vegan for a couple of years but when I started out, I always had to ask if stuff was vegan, what are the ingredients etc etc. Chooh La La!

Chooh La La Praline

Chooh La La Praline

I really liked the almonds so I bought a bag for $5. I have to try really hard not to eat them all in one go. Mehhh, who am I kidding.  I’m going to eat them all now.

Chooh La La can be found at http://www.facebook.com/choohlala

Regretfully, I didn’t get the name of the stall I bought these Melbourne badges from ($2 each or $10 for six badges).  The badges are made from street directory maps. The Melbourne one is mine, the Sunshine one is for a friend who grew up there:

Melways badges

 

The Birdhouse Collection stall had some gorgeous wooden animal shaped magnets. I couldn’t decide which one to get.  So I thought what would Harry Potter do?

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There were other lovely animal designs, including Australian animals, as well as hot air balloons and merry go rounds.

The Birdhouse Collection can be found here: http://www.thebirdhousecollection.com.au/

 

I’m a sucker for buying popcorn that is different than the plain old salted (and heavily burnt) break-your-teeth popcorn I make at home. I also wanted to buy something for the family and I knew they’d love this popcorn from The Steel Drum Popcorn Company. Seriously, you could take a lovely fire heated bath in this massive steel kettle and swish your salts around with the paddle:

Steel Drum Popcorn Co

The popcorn is cooked in oil and dusted with salt and sugar and is addictive. Naturally I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more.  I’ve forgotten how much it cost too:

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I made sure I went to the night market hungry and I was really curious to see what vegan options there were. After passing row after row of heavily meaty places, I crossed my fingers and hoped that the ‘vegetarian’ on the Rice and Dice sign actually meant vegan.  AND IT DIIID:

Rice And Dice

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Sooo I’m one of those eyes greedier than the stomach people. When I asked the friendly guy up there for something vegan, “I don’t mind what it is, as long as it’s vegan” (that’s me), I didn’t actually ask what the dishes were.  I just asked if I could get a combo of whatever was vegan. Maybe someone did mention what the dishes were, but my brain was all veganveganveganit’svegan:

Rice And Dice

Whatever it was, it was really good.  Next time I’ll pay more attention. I can’t find an online info source for Rice and Dice.  You just have to go and check them out yourself 🙂

 

Another sign that had me excited was this:

soupin bread bowl stall

Now, as I’m not really a soup person, THIS is why I was excited:

Soup in bread bowl stall

SOUP IN A BREAD ROLL BOWL. I’m so getting that if I see this stall somewhere again.  I think they may have been called the Soup Factory.  I could see people standing around eating soup out of bread bowls and I wanted one too, despite being pretty full because SOUP IN BREAD ROLL BOWL. Except this was the queue:

Soup in bread bowl stall

No soup for you, Veganopoulous.

I spotted this sugarcane juice cart, which I am assuming is vegan, but ran out of time to check out:

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There was a stage area with live music and a few of these tables (this photo was taken when I arrived at 5pm, there weren’t that many people but it really filled up soon after):

Luna1878 night market

 

When I first arrived at 5pm, I was a bit surprised that the stalls seemed spread so far out but after speaking to some stall owners, I realised it was to accommodate crowds as the summer night market gets really crowded. As more people arrived I saw this was quite a good idea and I liked having the room to move between stalls. There were other stalls I would have liked more time to look at, like candles, handmade jewelry and essential oils.

My biggest gripe would have to be how smoky it was from the barbeque/grill stalls.  I found it really, really unfortunate that a vegetarian food stall was placed right next to a spit roast stall (I spoke to the person serving at the veg stall and they weren’t happy about the situation). I hope that the foods serving veg*n options can be moved to a different area. It was so smoky that I stank out the tram with my bbq smell– even at home now my clothes, bag and beanie still stink. As soon as I walked in the door the family commented I smelled like a bbq 😦

To veg*ns considering going, please be warned that there are spit roast/grill type food stalls.

 

The Luna1878 Winter Night Market will be held every Wednesday 5pm – 10pm until August 27th. More info can be found at http://www.qvm.com.au/night-market/luna1878-winter-night-market-2/

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Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, 2014

Yesterday my mum and I went to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.  Mum loves all things flowers and gardens so off we went.  Our plan was to spend a few hours there, then walk down to Shakahari in Carlton for lunch but alas, time flew too quickly as we tiptoed through the tulips (remember: I was told I looked like Tiny Tim when I was young…. tiptoeing through tulips has been traumatic ever since) and we had to leave at 2pm.  As expected, there were zero vegan food options from the food outlets that were set up so I took along some chia muffins that kept me full.  There was a place serving soups and perhaps may have been vegan but I wasn’t in a soup mood so I didn’t bother asking.

This is mostly a photo heavy post.  It was a lovely sunny day and I was so pleased to see leaves are already changing colour because I love autumn.  The event was held at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton gardens:

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Kale!!!

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I loved this hanging basket full of herbs n stuff.  I’ve been playing around with ideas for my own herb garden but I might go hanging baskets instead:

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This was my favourite.  I wanted to steal it:

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My kind of Easter egg:

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We walked around for hours admiring so much beautiful stuff.  I bought some some plant based soaps (five decent sized bars for $15) made with sustainable palm oil.  I also bought some lavender that can be used in cooking.  Mum bought a few plant cuttings.  She had a good day and got to meet one of the presenters (Jason, who does the landscaping) from Better Homes and Gardens.  I took a photo, I think she’ll make it her desktop wallpaper now.

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The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is on until March 30th. Vegans: take your own snacks!  http://melbflowershow.com.au/

The Royal Melbourne Show

Once a year during the September school term holidays,  Melbourne puts on The Show.  The Royal Melbourne Show, known as… the Show, is an agricultural show that has been running since 1848.

Going to the Show as a kid was pretty exciting and for me it was mostly for the showbags.  I always got the Sunny Boy showbag and the Bertie Beetle showbag for all the chocolate.  Then you had the novelty showbags like the magic trick stuff, or goonie goggles or the joke gag showbag.  We didn’t go every year, though there were often school excursion groups run specially during the school holidays.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to the show.  At a guess, I’d say maybe twenty eight years now.  Nothing really appealed to me as I got older because I’m not in to all the carnival rides or crowds.  We were lucky today because Husband and I chose the worst weather forecast day as we figured it wouldn’t be as busy.  Good choice because when we arrived we were the only people at the ticket booths.  It was incredibly windy and a few rides closed because of the winds, but everything calmed down nicely soon after.

I packed some snacks as I anticipated a lack of vegan food so I was happy to see this stall for Vegetarian Pops, which were actually vegan.  These were made with zucchini, carrot and… something else and as a quick savoury snack they hit the spot:

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Showbags pavillion!

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Rides!

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We all enjoyed looking at the decorated cakes.  I applaud the people who do this, I have no patience or talent for it whatsoever.  But remember, I dip cake in my tea:

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The minion cakes were popular:

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I loooooved the crochet:

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Arthur wanted to go on the Ghost Train.  I went on this when I was his age and I remember it being pretty crap… today I paid $15 for the two of us to experience the same crap, slightly updated with strobe lights, but still the same shouty dudes jumping out at you with axes.  I wish this had been The Rimmer Experience:

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We sat in these giant mouth things:

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…and enjoyed the supernatural view:

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Arthur loves watching Adventure Time and from what I saw today, it’s popular with teens too.  So many teens walking around with the AT backbacks and inflatable hammers and bats.  I understand the appeal, I’ve watched a few episodes and it is pretty funny:

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The big downside for me was stuff like this, which is supposed to be a drawcard, given it’s an agricultural show.  I felt sorry for the cattle and sheep in their teeny pens today:
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Arthur and DeeW just HAD to have a turn at the Angry Birds game.  $10 for three shots… they didn’t score anything but the guy working there increased their score by one point and let Arthur choose a toy from the bottom row.  There was nothing he wanted, so he let DeeW choose something for herself (the purple horse you can just see in the middle of the bottom row of cheaper toys.  Horse is now known as Rosalina):
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Husband and I agreed that although the kids enjoyed it, we won’t go back next year.  We were pretty impressed with Arthur’s financial skills though.  My sister gave the kids $20 each to spend at the Show.  DeeW chose a My Little Pony showbag.  I took Arthur to the showbags pavillion and he was checking out all the chocolate/junk food show bags.  We worked out that it’s cheaper to buy the stuff elsewhere so he decided to keep his $20 and put it in the bank to earn interest.  Ha!

Now we’re all back home, the kids have done some quiet winding-down activities and Husband and I just want to sleeeep!